Dressage Ain’t Just For Millionaires: Dressage for a Normal Budget

By Posted on 4 Comments 2 min read 362 views

My saddlebags are just about topped off with all this horse-pucky about dressage being an elitist sport.

Y’all know there are different kinds of dressage, right? (Well, a lot of our regular readers know, but you first-timers may not.) Did you know that some types of dressage might even be much more accessible for regular folks like us? Maybe even for Joe Six-Pack and Joanne Box-o-White-Zin, especially if they switch to iced tea and save up?

So, let’s go check out some Dressage for Normal Budgets. First up in the order-of-go …

Western Dressage

If you can’t get a look at the above embedded video, click this here link.

That was the Morgan stallion Holiday Compadre and Eitan Beth-Halachmy doing a demo of Cowboy Dressage (musical freestyle) at the Denver Stock Show.

Some people get all huffy and consider reining western dressage. Those spins you see in the above video come straight from reining. Some world-class dressage competitors like Anky von Grunsven have competed in reining, too.

Gaited Dressage

Can’t see the above embedded video? Gotcha covered. Click here.

You don’t need a fancy European warmblood to do dressage. Note the Morgan in the earlier video.

This was a Tennessee Walking Horse mare ridden by trainer/rider Claudia Coombs of Green Ridge Farm in North Carolina.

Paraequestrian dressage

Feeling all bummed out and immobilized lately? Take a gander at this next video because where there’s a will, there’s a way.

If you can’t see the embedded video, then lookie here.

When you want to compliment a rider, you mention “quiet hands.”

Well, we could say that Bettina Eistel has the quietest hands in the world. She’s also the most resourceful rider I’ve ever seen. Click on the link over her name to read more about the inspiring Bettina Eistel.

The skinny on dressage

Dressage is just a French word for horse training. That’s all.

It’s not “dre$$age,” although it kind of is. As with any sport, the people who do it, budget for it. Just like they budget for any sports participation. Every sport needs safety gear, charges fees, takes participant training, expects standard attire, etc. Dressage is no different from golf or PeeWee football.

I’ve heard enough clinicians at the Equine Affaire trade show say that, when you want to teach you horse something, you’re training and that “dressage” is merely the French word for horse training.

Believe it or not, there are dressage competitions all over the country. If you’re motivated enough, you can ask around and find them.

However, this much is true – if you want to compete in dressage at the Olympic level, you ARE going to have to commit some serious dough. And time in the saddle.

So, you best be getting started now if you want to make the 2020 Olympics.


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  • Susie Blackmon
    August 1, 2012

    Love this post! Lope on! Oh wait… I mean canter on!!

  • Rhonda Lane
    August 1, 2012

    Thank you kindly, ma’am. ::tip of the hat:: Thanks for saying “howdy,” Susie.

  • gailingis
    August 1, 2012

    Rhonda, love Michael Montgomery no matter what, but singing in rhythm with the cowboy dressage, whoa, that was entertaining. Then the bottom video, did I see right, a gal with no arms leading the dressage with the reins in her teeth? That was inspiring. Thanks for the post.

    • Rhonda Lane
      August 5, 2012

      You’re welcome, Gail. Thank you for stopping by and saying “hello.” Yes, Bettina and the other paraolympians will compete in London the week after the Olympics, while everything is still set up.